{AGSM 439 Management of Agricultural Systems I}

College: Agriculture and Life Sciences
Department: Biological & Agricultural Engineering
Type: W
Status: Approved

Proposer: Gerald Riskowski & Russell McGee
Number: 5-7619/5-3659
Email: Riskowski@tamu.edu/romcgee@tamu.edu



We recommend that AGSM 439 Management of Agricultural Systems I be certified as a writing (W) course for four academic years (1/15 to 1/19). We have reviewed a representative syllabus and have determined that the course meets or exceeds the following criteria:

  1. Percentage of final grade based on writing quality: 90%
  2. Course content appropriate to the major
  3. Total number of words: 13,499
  4. Instructor to student ratio for one section: 1:15

Previously, students worked on one large project over two semesters (AGSM 439 and AGSM 440), but now they work on one simpler project in this course (AGSM 439), then work on a more complex problem in the subsequent semester (AGSM 440). This has led to a larger amount of writing in AGSM 439. Some in-class writing assignments have been added as well. Writing assignments include a project definition; individual sections of the project report; a project report, and a definition of a major project. The final report is collaboratively written. Each of the individual major writing assignment sections for the semester project goes through three stages. The first stage is for the students to submit a draft version of the report, the second stage is feedback provided by the instructors, and the third stage is for the students to submit a revised final report that incorporates the feedback. In grading, the initial draft assignment is worth 300 points and the final assignment is worth 600 points, so the initial draft has lower impact on their grade, but higher quality is expected on the final version. Three lectures are given by the instructors that discuss the expected writing style for the discipline. These lectures cover common writing errors and how to correct these errors. Also, the University Writing Center gives two lectures on writing. Expected writing styles for the discipline are provided as examples, and in-class evaluations and writing assignments are done.

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